In a setback to the BJP government in Jharkhand, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has recommended to the President to deny assent to the proposed amendments to the tenancy Acts made by the state government through an ordinance.
These amendments, primarily, pertain to allowing tribals to sell their land to non-tribals and do away with the mandatory permission from the deputy commissioner for such transactions.
The NCST has said that the proposed amendments should be revised and presented before the state Assembly for a detailed discussion to initiate changes, if any, and not to make amendments through an ordinance.
Talking to The Indian Express, NCST Chairman Dr Rameshwar Oraon said: “If these amendments are allowed, it would open floodgates in so far as tribals losing their land is concerned. There was a mandatory provision of seeking the permission from the Deputy Commissioner. Even that is being sought to be removed. The impact it will have is that the tribals would be hoodwinked into selling their land at throwaway prices on a large scale and get displaced. Also, when such far reaching changes are being proposed, they should first be discussed in the State Legislature, rather than taking the ordinance route.”
Oraon also pointed out that the proposed changes allow tribals to get the land use changed from agricultural to non-agricultural, which could be done by the revenue officials at the local level itself. “The tribals mostly have agricultural land. If the amendments are allowed to go through, then it would become very easy to grab tribal land in the name of genuine commercial transaction,” he said.